NETHER PROVIDENCE — An argument could be made that the Chichester softball team should be entering the PIAA Tournament as the 2015 District One Class AAA champion, not the runner-up. But a stellar pitching performance and one big hit by the other team can spoil the dream for any favorite.
That’s basically what led to the Eagles’ defeat last Thursday at Strath Haven High. Sometimes, the team that looks better on paper doesn’t always win.
Chichester, the top seed in District One, fell to the same Villa Maria team it had beaten by three runs a couple weeks prior.
Consider the 1-0 loss ancient history. The Eagles turned the page as soon as they reluctantly received their second-place medals, shifting the focus to their PIAA Class AAA tournament appearance Monday afternoon. It’s the first of four potential games for the Eagles, who are looking to become the second school from Delaware County to capture a state title in softball.
“Hey, we’re not done,’ All-Delco pitcher Meghan Wimmer said, underscoring Chi’s status like a highlight marker. “We get a brand new start. We’re happy to be here. We have states and we’re going to be good.’
The journey to Penn State University begins Monday afternoon against Lansdale Catholic. First pitch is slated for 3 o’clock at Arcadia University, although the forecast calls for heavy rain throughout the Delaware Valley.
Though it’s impossible to compare one team to another, from one year to the next, it’s worth noting that Springfield was in the same spot in 2014, losing the District One final to Radnor. The Cougars went undefeated in the state tournament and didn’t lose again until the second round of this year’s District One Class AAAA tournament.
“You saw what they did,’ Wimmer said
If the Eagles hope to replicate Springfield’s amazing run, they’ll need to heat up on offense. One thing that held them back against Villa Maria was a lineup that mustered just three hits. However, the Eagles have proved all year that they can be lethal swinging the bats. Wimmer, who bats leadoff, gets in scoring position more than half the time she’s at the plate. That leaves RBI chances for the meat of the lineup, catcher Nicole O’Donnell, first baseman Hayley Coale and third baseman Maddie Thornton, all of whom have been power-hitting run producers.
During the course of a 21-2 campaign, in which Chi set the program record for most wins in a season, Wimmer has been phenomenal. She took down the PIAA Class AAA record for most wins and strikeouts in a career. In the loss to Villa Maria, Wimmer did her job from the circle, recording 13 strikeouts while scattering four hits. Alas, Chichester was shut out for the first time since the 2010 season.
Lansdale Catholic qualified for the PIAA Class AAA Tournament after routing Frankford of the Public League, 14-0, in five innings to win the District 12 title. LC reached the semifinal round of the Catholic League playoffs, losing to St. Hubert, a team Chichester defeated late in the regular season. Frankford, by the way, is competing in states as the District 12 second-place team.